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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot Off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

T-Mobile plans to give free phones on Saturday

SAN FRANCISCO – Wireless carrier T-Mobile plans to give free phones to customers who sign up for group calling plans at its retail stores on Saturday – just days before rival At&T will start selling Apple’s latest iPhone.

T-Mobile said Tuesday that throughout Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m., new customers will be able to get free handsets of their choice by signing up for a "family plan," which is a calling plan that has at least two users. Current T-Mobile customers can convert a single-user plan into a family plan by adding at least one user, or adding lines to a family plan they already have. You can get up to five free phones with a single family plan, though each will come with a two-year contract.

The promotion includes T-Mobile’s newest smart phones running Google Inc.’s Android operating software, such as the HTC myTouch 3G Slide, which usually sells for $180 with a two-year contract and rebate, and Garminfone, which usually costs $200 with a two-year contract and rebate. Some phones will require a mail-in rebate, T-Mobile said.

T-Mobile USA Chief Operating Officer Jim Alling expects the promotion to appeal to both existing and prospective customers. He said the promotion, which takes place less than a week before the iPhone 4’s June 24 release, was already in the works before T-Mobile knew exactly when Apple’s latest version of the popular phone would be hitting store shelves. Analysts had expected a new iPhone in June, especially after a prototype surfaced in April on gadget blog Gizmodo.

T-Mobile, which is owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, had 33.7 million customers at the end of its first quarter. This includes both prepaid and contract customers.


Microsoft’s newest Office goes on sale Tuesday

SEATTLE – The next version of Microsoft’s Office software will be available to consumers and small businesses starting Tuesday.

Office Home and Student 2010, the most basic bundle of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, will cost $150. The programs can be installed on as many as three home computers. A $280 version also includes the Outlook e-mail program. A $500 bundle adds Publisher, a desktop publishing program, and Access, a database.

Those prices are for traditional packaged software. People can also buy licenses, called product key cards, to download the same sets of programs for $120, $200 and $350.

For the first time, Microsoft is also launching free Web-based versions of the four core Office programs. They will have fewer features than the desktop software.

Google already offers a similar set of free programs that run in a Web browser.


Jackson fans will moonwalk in motion-sensing game

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson fans will be able to moonwalk next to the King of Pop in a new video game to be released this holiday season by Ubisoft Entertainment.

The as-yet-unnamed game will be among the first to use new motion-detecting camera systems to be available later this year for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. The announcement was made Monday at the E3 video game show in Los Angeles.

The game will also work with hand-held controllers on Nintendo’s Wii and on the smaller Nintendo DS and PSP portable console from Sony. The game’s launch will roughly coincide with the planned sale of a new album containing unreleased Jackson recordings in November.

Ubisoft marketing vice president Tony Key said as part of the game, players will learn how to mimic the late Jackson’s signature moves. Key added, "You are going to learn to moonwalk."